Thursday, May 31, 2012
Darlings, it seems like yesterday I was ushering May in, with Julie Andrews and the Original Broadway Cast of "Camelot." And now, the end of that month has arrived.
I feel like I have been through several life changes. From Woodside to Bethune Street, and then to Bay Ridge. From living by myself, to actually living with someone. From a shorter commute, to a much longer one, which I did in my youth, and which now affords me greater reading time!!!!!!
Yes, any way you look at it, May 2012 will be one to remember for the books. So much physical and emotional upheaval. Now, let us hope June, not to mention the rest of the year, allows me to settle down, snug and comfy in my Creature Of Habit status.
I always thought of May as the month of Flowers. And there should be plenty, after all the rain we got earlier.
And I have passed the halfway point of my last birthday???? Where does the time go, darlings???????????
So, a fond farewell to May, 2012, which will always be looked back on with fondness!!!!!!!!!!!!!
For one thing, girls, she is more natural!!!!! I mean, have you looked at Nicole Kidman lately?????? Scary!!!!!!!! So much botox, she looks like the cloned robot she turns out to be at the end of the abysmal "Stepford Wives" remake.
Miss Krauss' skin tones are all natural, and so, thankfully, is her writing technique. When she first appeared with "The History Of Love," I was enraptured; so much so, I read the book again, a few years later. Now I am captivated by her latest book, "Great House."
Even if I just had not come off "Mockingjay," the final volume of Suzanne Collins' "Hunger Games" trilogy, I think I would still have been captivated. She uses the same device as she did in the other book--both are fictional histories of inanimate objects; in the first, a book, in this, a desk.
This is a device that has been done by other writers, and will be done again, I am sure, but when it is done by Miss Krauss, it becomes an exploration of the human spirit. Insightful, penetrating, emotionally lacerating, "Great House" is so compelling you may not want to leave its pages until
every one has been read. I am surprised I did not miss train stops when I was reading. it was that absorbing.
Her sense of structure is brilliant; what in lesser hands might seem like a series of short stories strung together, are all interconnected, and the final revelation is a stunner. And makes
the reader think.
But, most of all, "Great House" reminds one how pleasurable it is to read genuinely good fiction. And how satisfying a reading experience can be. I cannot wait to see what she is going to do next; she is carving herself a path as one of America's best post Modern Jewish writers.
One critic compared her to Philip Roth???????? I want to know what
he has been reading. Krauss is as far from Roth as Gore Vidal is from William F. Buckley. Not that Roth has not written some impressive work--and I am talking about "American Pastoral" here, not "Portnoy's Complaint"--but his canon lacks Krauss sensitivity. I have read enough Roth; I do not need to read his canon. I look forward to reading more of Miss Krauss.
Forget "The Hunger Games", girls, THIS is the real reading experience of the Summer!!!!!!!!!!
Would you believe, darlings, that Joyce Bidnick, this week's winner of the
Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week Award, was at one time a beauty contest winner???? See what Time
can do to the best of us?????????
Actually, Joyce has quite a few talents. If she could put them to use onstage,
she might make an excellent Miss Hannigan in a production of "Annie." Because both she and Hannigan excel at the exploitation of innocent children. Miss H in the unethical way she ran the orphanage, and Joyce
in the way she mishandled her responsibilities as treasurer of her community (New City, New York) Little
Since 2003, she has reportedly stolen $800,000, fundamentally from
innocent boys who want nothing more than to play baseball. This is pretty low, in the scheme of things.
But Joyce's case raises other questions as well. How did she get away with
it for so long?????? Did anyone else (like her husband????) know about it???? And how does a suburban
Little League team come to have so much money in its till, to begin with????? Just how did that coffer, when it was full, get filled. I would bet if Joyce was not on the up and up about where the money was going
to, I am sure she was equally dishonest about how that cash was actually acquired.
Stealing from the Little League is up there with extortion of the Girl Scouts, or robbing the Poor Box of a Roman Catholic Church. Not that there would be much there, but '
people still do try.
So, today, Joyce goes from Treasurer to Thief to Bitch Of The Week!
Quite a record she has!!!!!!!!!
No wonder those so-called looks have faded!!!!!! And, Joyce, if you
think prison affords you down time to beautify, forget it!!!!!!!! There will be no spas or salons where you are going!!!!!!!!!!!!
But, don't worry; this is America, where, if you do something wrong, sooner or later you get your own reality show.
Just look at Martha Stewart. And Elliot Spitzer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Until next week's Bitch, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Fantine for which we have been hoping.
To say I was impressed was an understatement. Not only did I hear a voice, but I heard vulnerability and emotional desperation, which is how the role of Fantine must be played. Not like some belter taking center stage and saying, "Here, this is MY big number." Which is how some have approached it.
But, from what I have seen, that is not Anne. Remember, Fantine is to this show what Julie is to "Show Boat." They are both tragic figures who are not around much, but, when they are, they make their moments, especially the musical ones, count. And when they are not onstage or screen, their presence hangs over the rest of the stories and characters spectrally.
I still would have loved a crack at the role, but my time will come, girls; have no doubt! And I even saw a little bit of evidence that the director, Tom Hooper, understands the musical form.
It involves a certain choreographic and edited sequence by a group of prostitutes.
Do I keep my promises to my girls? I told you I would report on this, as soon as I knew anything. Now, I want all my girls to look at the trailer and listen to the mixing and music of Anne's voice! You will go out and but tickets for this immediately!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And when I do Fantine, darlings, which, at some point will be onstage, all my girls will get comps!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The poor crocodile, darlings! I certainly mean no disrespect to it, or other
like reptiles, especially since Reptile Number One, Gojira, is one of the biggest and the best.
But the coined expression "Crocodile Tears", best sums up what it comes to
with Dharun Ravi.
So he apologized, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!! So what???????????????
For one thing, I don't buy it. And for another, it validates an earlier statement
he made, about anything he said being rehearsed, and no one would hate him any less than they do already.
He is right on the mark with the latter part, girls. As for the first, I don't think
this was a rehearsed apology. I think it was as sincere as he was capable of getting. And that is not much.
Ravi still denies his actions, which he acknowledges as "immature, stupid, and insensitive", were not motivated by any sort of bigotry or hate. Oh, really? Then how come, Dharun, in
your statement, you haven't the sincerity to mention Tyler Clementi specifically, or the Clementi family???? Saying such might have carried a bit of weight, And gone some way towards the apology being accepted.
Is this supposed to bring some kind of closure????? Clearly, Mr. Ravi STILL does not get it. As for the Clementis, who have been a class act from the start, I wonder how they feel about this. Perhaps it will serve as closure, and for them I an genuinely happy. But I think more would
have come from Ravi. His apology shows how little he is actually capable of.
I also see in it a bit of calculation, which has characterized every one of this
young man's actions. Perhaps doing it on the eve of serving his sentence, he feels he may either get a lesser
time, or any inmates who might not initially will now look on him more kindly. Hey, Dahurn, you are talking
about hard core prisoners, and you are the new kid on the block. Take your chances, kid, but whatever
happens behind bars, this statement of yours will not make a bit of difference.
I don't trust this guy from here to the front door. If he were to set up a
political booth, at Manhattan's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Center lobby, endorsing a gay
political candidate, I would not believe a word of it. Neither would, I think, most of the gay community.
Hey, Dahurn, you want to do yourself a favor? Keep your damn mouth shut; just keep it shut.
But that is something entitled narcissists are incapable of. You can bet
he will be heard from again. Maybe not in as tragic a manner. But attention seems too attractive to him.
In the immortal words of Joey Heatherton, "You told me mistakes are
part of being young. But that don't right the wrong that's been done."
Damn well better believe it, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Something like "I am sorry for the pain I caused the Clementi family" might have carried a bit of weight.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Can you believe it, girls? Can you absolutely believe it?????? I have hardly
been back in Brooklyn for a week, when news comes that the biggest Brooklynite of all...BARBRA...
is going to come back for a live concert sometime in October!!!!!!!!! Talk about feeling upstaged!!!!!!!
And would you believe--or maybe you would--that the ticket price for this event, which of course all my girls and all queens out there would like to attend but can't--is between $700 and &1500 dollars??????????????
Well, I will fix that! I am going to go out on stage, stand alongside BARBRA, and
show her how to sing, which I still can, "I'm The Greatest Star," "Coronet Man" and "Who Taught Her
Everything She Knows!!!!!!!!!"" You bet I know all the words--have for years, and I am ready to go!!!!!!
Babs won't know what hit her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Serves her right for charging so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
On the other hand, why bother, when you can get ME for a fraction of the
Monday, May 28, 2012
Darlings, I finished "Mockingjay," and thus can now say I have read the entire "Hunger Games" trilogy. Was it worth it??? Yes. But, it was not as pleasurable as reading other things, including "Harry Potter."
The final book is beautifully constructed, and ends on a very satisfying note, with all plot threads resolved. Miss Collins leaves no wiggle room for a fourth book, so, if, down the road, one appears, I will be royally pissed!!!!!!!! And I will not read it!!!!!!!!!! Three is enough!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
When I finished the book, I closed it, heaved a brief sigh of contentment, but privately thought, "Thank God! Now, I can get back to things that REALLY do it for me!!!!" Which is not to say I want to denigrate these books; I chose to read them, they ARE well written, and I understand their popularity. I am just not part of the group that revels in that popularity. Would I recommend them? I would, but with reservation. If you know right off this is the type of literature that does not work for you, read them knowing they will be far superior to most similar generic junk out there, but that, once you are done (because if you read one, you WILL want to read the others!!!) a return to more serious literary exploration is in sight!!!!!!!!!!!
Listen, I commend Miss Collins for her success!!!!! And she CAN write!!!!!!!!! Unlike that Stephanie Meyers!!!!!!!!!!! I would rather read Stephanie March!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, the Trilogy becomes part of my reading history!!!!!!!!! It was a worthwhile time investment, but it made me pine for the days of my youth!!!!!!!!!!!
When I would read--are you ready, girls????--Barbara Taylor Bradford!!!!!!!!!!
Well, darlings, when Irving Berlin wrote that lyric, he said, "Fifth Avenue," and, of course, that strip is out here, too, in Bay Ridge. But the main one nearest to us on Ridge Boulevard is Third, and, yesterday, Monsieur and I were up and down it, dining at the Lighthouse, Mr. Tang, Vesuvio, and who knows what to come. Monsieur got a manicure/pedicure at Nail Magic, darlings, and, after Mass, we dined at Anopoli's (which used to be Logue's, when I first lived out here!!!!!) Ice Cream Parlor.
I had been advised by those in the know to attend St. Andrews Church (which, interestingly, was just a block from my old apartment!!!!) because it was more "gay friendly." Well, the pastor, Guy Massey, was a lovely gentleman, and the major portion of his acolytes seemed to be this group of hard edged lesbians, whom you damn well better believe ran the show!!!!!! Imagine my shock, after such a high recommendation of Pastor Massey was validated, to hear he is leaving at the end of June!!!! Wonder if those lesbians had anything to do with it???????
Monsieur was on his best behavior, and yes, delivered his most solid qualification--having seen "The Song Of Bernadette!!!!!!" I heard some things at this service I had not heard in years: old responses. For example, when the priest said "The Lord be with you," instead of the more modern "And also with you," they went back to the more antiquated, "And with your spirit." Later, when the words "Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God" were spoken, I heard "It is right and just", (I cannot recall the last time I heard that) rather than, "It is right to give Him thanks and praise." Did it ruin anything????? Of course not!!!!!!
And, honeys, wait till you hear this!!! I swear, Destiny is following me!!!! There was this tall, attractive, raven haired woman, about mid-Thirties, who served as a Collector. She had on a glamorous red, two piece suit, that hankered back to the Forties, as did her hairstyle. Girls, you are not going to believe this, but I swear to you, she was the living resemblance of Jennifer Jones, circa 1944!!!!
I mean, what more could one ask????????????
So, Sunday along the Strip in the Ridge was a memorable one.
Now, I can't wait to show Monsieur the esplanade along the water!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Girls, can you believe we have made it to another???? This is the time of the year when my heavy duty--very thick, very lengthy books--reading kicks in, as well as a time to remember when the parade in my hometown of Highland Park, New Jersey, was the biggest event of the year (and most likely still is) and when Summer was kicked off by a parade past my grandmother's house on Nassau Street in North Brunswick, as we all sat on the front porch, and then withdrew to the yard, for a spectacular cookout.
Yes, Memorial Day is a time for remembrance, whatever those memories may be!!!!!
The next 80 plus days are the most magical in the year, when one can dress comfortably, go swimming, ride amusements, and spend more time outdoors, thereby eliminating that cabin fever having plagued one all Winter!!!!!
Enjoy, darlings, enjoy!!!! And whatever your Memorial Day memories, guard them well!
Just like the corners of our mind, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Saturday, May 26, 2012
You are not going to believe this, girls, but, then, why should any of us be surprised???? This summer--from July 3 through August 12--the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, CA is going to present a stage adaption of--are you ready for this????--"The Exorcist"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And, honey wait, it gets better!!!! Brooke Shields is going to be playing the Ellen Burstyn role of Chris MacNeil, the actress, whose daughter, Regan (played by Emily Yetter,; who the hell is she? And how old is she??? Bet this won't do for her, what it did for Linda Blair!!!!) undergoes the horrifying experience of demonic possession. Oh, and the title role, namely Father Merrin, played in the film by Max Von Sydow (who, at 82, is still very much alive; you have to wonder why he is not playing it. On the other hand, maybe he was asked, and wisely turned it down; after being nominated for an Oscar at his age, I am sure he can smell a stinker when it crosses his way!!!!) will now be played by former "Dr. Kildare" heart throb, Richard Chamberlain. Who is no stranger to playing a priest, either, having scored big several decades ago in the pivotal role in the miniseries "The Thorn Birds!!!"
The rest of the cast is made up of unknowns, but what a creative team is assembling this project. The written adaptation is by John Pielmier, best known still for "Agnes Of God," so in some ways he is apt; the direction is going to be by Sondheim deconstructionist (though I say bastardizer) John Doyle!!!! I have to wonder; will Regan now do the spider walk down the stairs, while playing the piccolo?????
What in the name of God, or Satan, are these people thinking??? The movie is definitive, and Burstyn's performance is grounded in the reality of powerlessness in the face of her child's plight; Brooke Sheilds, talented though she is, especially with comedy, is hardly a world beater as a dramatic actress, so how can she possibly measure up???? Chamberlain may very well acquit himself minus any embarrassment, but, from the looks of it, this project looks to be the biggest camp disaster in the making since the 1988 Broadway musical version of "Carrie." And you just know "The Exorcist's" summer engagement at the Geffen, is a testing ground for whether or not they bring it to New York!!!! Girls, I hope they do, because after last winter's disappointment with the revised "Carrie," theater audiences are craving a camp delight....and this may just be it!!!!!!
Of course, you better believe I am ticked off that the role of Regan has already been cast: I have always wanted to play that. Hell, I feel like that, some of the time!!!! And it is NOT menopause, darlings!!!!! But, so far I see nothing about the casting of another plum role here I have always coveted--Mrs. Karas!!!!!! I could do her to a tee!!!!! Her signature line, written above, I can render perfectly!!!! What a camp fest that would be, loves!!!! And you would all get comps!!!!!!
So, this "Exorcist" is definitely one to keep an eye on, though who would have thought, nearly 40 years later, it would find its way to the stage. Mother of Mercy!!!!!
Could "Rosemary's Baby" be next????? Horrors!!!!!!!!!!!!
Friday, May 25, 2012
I have to wonder, what was it about May???????????
"Mame" became the first of my favorite musicals. (The other two being "Follies" and "A Chorus Line"). It incorporated into one show everything a burgeoning gay child could want--a jazzy score (the overture to which, along with that of "Gypsy", sets the Gold Standard for Broadway Overtures!!!!), a wealthy aunt in a wealthy part of New York City (Beekman Place, over on the even then very exclusive Upper East Side), with free-wheeling friends...even lesbians (gasp!!!!), and an unconventional approach to life. What more could a child ask???? The only thing is, times being what they were, the writers exercised some kind of Middle Class morality, by having the adult Patrick (Mame's nephew) turn out a conventional suburbanite, rather than more like herself. But, at the end, there is also Patrick's son, Peter, and, with a generation removed, hope remains Mame will change him!!!!!!
Darlings, I memorized this album, until I could sing every word. Not only that, I just about taught it to my entire neighborhood, when I was growing up!!!! There are still those out there, who, thanks to me, can sing every line of the opening number, "St. Bridget."
I can even still recite the opening of the liner notes for "St. Bridget:"
"December 1, 1928. Into the brilliantly, blinking Manhattan night, wander two lost lambs, straight from Des Moines,
newly orphaned Patrick Dennis (Frankie Michaels) , age 10, and Agnes Gooch (Jane Connell), faithful nanny, delivering her charge to his only living relative, a certain Mame Dennis, of No. 3 Beekman Place."
And yes, girls, many times, on the evening of December 1, I would stand, in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral (once I moved to New York, in adulthood) and sing "St. Bridget." It was kind of my Uptown Gig, the way "Frank Mills" was Downtown, at the Waverly.
I remember "Mame's " opening very well, because even, as a child, I had heard about it, and about Frankie Michaels. Who, by the way, still holds the record for the youngest performer to win a TONY Award; in June of 1966, he won Best Featured Actor In A Musical. Listen to him on the album; he was just too good NOT to!!!!!!!!!!!
Of course, I wanted so much for that to be ME, but while "Mame" was getting on its feet, I was getting ready for a performance of my own--open heart surgery, at New York Hospital, Cornell Medical Center, where I was the evening "Mame" opened, the reason I recall it so well, and, it cannot be denied, the reason I am here today, writing about it.
The show iconicized two things associated with it--actress Angela Lansbury (still going strong after all these years--amazing!!!!) who became a Genuine Star, once this opened, and netted her the first of her four TONY Awards. And, as far as I am concerned, it did the same for the Winter Garden Theatre, which went on to play "Follies" and "Liza Minnelli" among others!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So, of course, the Winter Garden became, for me, the Broadway theater I most wanted to play.
Hard to believe it has been 46 years!!!!! And hard to believe how far Musical Theater and the Winter Garden have come down, since!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"CATS" and Mamma Mia," indeed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Forty years ago, again on May 23, the long forgotten film classic, "The Other", opened at the now defunct Coronet Theater, in Manhattan. I did not see it, until sometime in June, but I had been spellbound by the book by Thomas Tryon. (It is still one of my faves, and I own a hardback edition of it!!!!), and I had high expectations for the film, which, when I saw it, at the tender age of 17, swept me off my feet, and into a world of fancy I still look back on today.
The film had the kind of credentials that today would make us drool, as who could account among us such talent today. It was directed by Robert Mulligan, always to be remembered for "To Kill A Mockingbird," and deservedly so; although that film seemed to overshadow the quality of his later work, like here! It had a dream cast, but how much so could not have been known at the time--stage actress Uta Hagen, (whom I, at the time, had never heard of) making her screen debut as Grandmother Ada Vendrenya, TV actress Diana Muldaur, with stunning 30s looks (the film was set in 1935 Connecticut) as Perry mother, Alexandra (who was Ada's daughter!!!), Barry Sullivan's daughter, Jenny, as adopted, now grown daughter, Torrie Perry, a young man, and Tex Ritter's son, John Ritter, as Torrie's husband, Rider Gannon, and two relatively well known character actors--Lou Frizzell, from television, as Uncle George Perry, the now patriarch of the clan, and Portia Nelson as neighborly busybody and murder victim, Old Lady Rowe--I mean, Mrs. Rowe.
Most remarkably, this film marked the first and only time that two young boys, then from the town of Westfield, New Jersey, jointly appeared on film. They were actually twins, named Chris and Martin Udvarnoky, and they found their way to the project by way of Uta Hagen, with whom they, and/or their father, had been studying, who recommended them. She proved to be right for both, but especially Chris, in the role of Niles, who proved remarkable, and, while their work was praised, I thought it of award calibre, and that it never got the recognition that it should. Same with Miss Hagen.
But, though cinematographer Robert Surtees brought a bucolic, poetic feel that belied the tale of Gothic horror the story actually was, this may have been why the film was not taken as seriously at the time.
At the time, I was obsessed with what I considered intense, dramatic acting. I nursed ambitions of such in me (I saw myself, back then, in the role of Edmond Tyrone in "Long Day's Journey Into Night"), and this film offered up a veritable feast of such that I could watch, and, I felt, learn from. Which is why I saw this film again.........and again......and again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sadly, Time has not been kind to "The Other". In the face of more visually arresting films as "The Exorcist" and "The Omen," it seemed to get lost in the shuffle. It had hardly a breathing life on videocassette, and, darlings, I am telling you, what I had to go through to get my copy on DVD!!!! You better believe I am hanging on to that!!!!!
Moreover, in the 40 year interim, so many of its cast members have left us. Director Robert Mulligan, Uta Hagen, Lou Frizzell, Portia Nelson, Victor French (another TV luminary, who portrayed the farm hand, Leno Angelini), Norma Connolly (Aunt Vee), Loretta Leversee (who played housekeeper Winnie), not to mention actor-novelist-screenwriter Thomas Tryon, who created it all.
Saddest of all, however was the passing of one who went on to become a genuine TV superstar, John Ritter, who left us on September 11 (!!!!) 2003, at the rather untimely age of 54!!!! Sadder still was the passing, on October 25, 2010, of Perry twin Niles, Chris Udvarnoky. His death, from the inherited illness of polycystic kidney disease, at 49, sent shock waves throughout the small community of fans devoted to "The Other." After all, fifty six years have passed since the movie "The Bad Seed" (not to mention fifty eight since the Broadway show) and that child, Patty McCormack, is still very much alive.
I can only be grateful that, 40 years later, I am still here to remember, and chronicle, "The Other." I am glad I can be the one to do so, to remind those of us who care about the film, how good it was, and to stir, in those of you who have not seen it, an interest in seeing it again!!!!!!
While I would never change a single frame of the film that exists, I do wish, and did so from the first, that the filmmakers had retained Tryon's original gimmick--though how to do so on film without spoiling the surprise would be quite a challenge. The novel is told by an adult narrator, in flashback, looking back at the Perry farm and what took place there. Only till one gets to the end, does the reader realize the narrator has been Niles (whose personality has been taken over by his twin, Holland, just as Mrs. Bates' took over Norman's) from the permanent confines of a mental institution.
"Holland, where is the baby?" I'll never tell, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
On a much, MUCH lighter--and uhmmmmmmmmm, enticing note, darlings, Wednesday, May 23, marked the commencement of Fleet Week 2012 in New York City. The gobs have arrived in town, and gays and gals, I am sure, are doing their best to make them feel welcome.
This is the time of year when the milk of Human Kindness just overflows in this town!!!!
Sailors are literally grabbed off the streets, and hauled to respective homes, for a home cooked meal, and then some!!!!! I am urging all my girls, once again, to do your patriotic duty!!!!! Or for those established couples, make your partner feel special, by, one evening, dressing in a sailor suit!!!!!! Honeymoons could start!!!! Or get reheated!!!!!
But, can you believe we have made it to another Fleet Week????? Seems like the boys were just here!
Nevertheless, I want to hear from my girls, who do exercise their patriotic duty!!! Not to mention long, unused limbs!!!!!!!!!!!
The Fleet is IN, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
After writing about Tyler Celementi and Dahrun Ravi, girls, I had to clear my head, before Iwrote about another tragic victimized child, who, in posterity, has gone on to Fame--Etan Patz!!!!!!!!!!!!
Talk about poetic justice!!!!! On what is today, the 33rd anniversary of this child's disappearance/death, an arrest has actually been made.
Pedro Hernandez, 51, a disabled construction worker, had confessed over the years to having murdered a child when he was young and working in New York. And when police began digging around Prince Street, and the Patz case surfaced again, awareness on the part of Hernandez and others who knew his secret, came to light.
Which led police to an otherwise obscure home in Maple Shade, New Jersey, not far from Camden!!!! Police questioned, and Hernandez implicated himself, in the disappearance and death of then 6- year- old Etan Patz.
Like Matthew Shepard, Megan Kanka and Tyler Clementi, the case galvanized a nation. A New York writer named Beth Gutcheon wrote a novel, "Still Missing," which was filmed as "Without A Trace," starring a then up-and-comer named Kate Nelligan. Names and situations had changed, but the timing of the book/film's appearance, and that Gutcheon had, at tragedy's time, lived near the Patzes, made this too close for coincidence. And, as the years went on, Etan's name became code for every parent's worst nightmare.
It was also the opening sentence of Lisa R. Cohen's 2009 book, "After Etan," which was published around the 30th Anniversary of the disappearance/death. And herein lie questions. For three years now, this book has become an acceptance of what happened to Etan. Cohen singles out Jose Ramos, convicted child molester and former boyfriend of the Patzes then babysitter, as Etan's killer. She has him saying so to cell mates, stating the body will never be found.
Which of course, what I, then much younger, wanted to know at the time--how could the body not be found, so that at least a decent burial might be given???? The book answered this, stating Ramos was the superintendent of an apartment building on East 10th Street, and that, after making sexual advances to Etan, and the child rejecting them, the man killed him, took the body to the apartment basement, and cremated it in the incinerator.
For three years, I thought the Etan Patz case was done with. And for years after, on both this day, and Etan's birthday (April 9) Stan Patz would, bi-annually, send to Ramos the now iconic photo (which Stan Patz, a commercial photographer, himself took!!!) of Etan, inscribed with the words, "What did you do to my little boy?"
It was said when Hernandez was arrested, Stan Patz was overwhelmed. I don't blame him. Not only might a mystery be solved, but had he been sending the pictures to the wrong man all along????
Which is why, if I were Stan Patz, and certainly speaking for myself, who has been accepting Cohen's book as the gospel truth, I want irrevocable proof about Hernandez.
Back in 1979, Hernandez was 18, and lived at 438 West Broadway, where his sister is said to still reside. He worked at a bodega at 448 West Broadway, which, with changing times, is now a chi-chi eye wear design shop. Members of his family have stated he had mental problems, and may have been bi-polar. Again, there are plenty of bi-polars out there, but they do not become the center of one of the most famous mysteries of the last century.
There is another factor. Hernandez is said to be suffering from some form of cancer. How long he has is not known. But this may have led him to confess the alleged (I will still use this word until I receive incontrovertible proof!!!!) murder of Etan to what he calls a "spiritual adviser." Uh, huh!!!!!
Clear your conscience, before you leave this world, scumbag!!!! Because, if you do turn out to be the sleaze that did in Etan in this world, I hope Etan kicks your ass to Kingdom Come, in the next!!!!!!
So, what did happen????? Hernandez, then an 18-year-old stock boy at the bodega, says he had never seen Etan, until that day. Which I instantly question; Etan was a cute kid, with a lot of presence, they lived in the same nabe; come on, now!
Nevertheless, he says on that day, when he saw Etan, the urge to kill came over
him. As though it were the first and only time, which I don't for a second believe. It may very well have been the first (but was it the only time, which is what I want to know!!!!) time he acted upon it, and how was he to know he was perpetrating one of the Crimes Of The Century????????
He lured Etan into the bodega, with the promise of a soda, then somehow lured the child into the basement, where he strangled him. He claims Etan was not sexually assaulted.
Now, I fully remember that, in 1979, DNA and the Internet were not around, but, since the boy's body was not, as Cohen would have us believe, cremated, but, as Hernandez would, wrapped and dumped in a trash dumpster nearby, you are telling me the cops couldn't find it????? They found Leiby Kletzky's pretty much the same night he vanished--and he had been dismembered!!!! Honestly, I bet in 1979, if you sent out the current 'SVU' cast (and Stephanie March, too) THEY would have found the body, for God's sake!!!!!!
If proof is established Hernandez was the murderer, if I were the Patzes, I would feel both relief--and anger at the NYPD!!!!! Like the cops at the end of Roald Dahl's "Lamb To The Slaughter," the answer was right under their noses, and they could not find it????????
Let us hope this offers closure for all. And if it does, then let it send out a message to current and future child abductors. That even if it took 33 years to solve the most famous child abduction case in history, then none of you slime buckets will EVER be safe!!!!
Sooner or later, you will be found out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Girls, does anyone here notice a slight resemblance to NYC Mayor, Michael Bloomberg???? That alone gives one cause for suspicion!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In the wake of this week being, for me, the Week Of The Move, I must apologize if my recent posting on the Dharun Ravi sentencing seemed tepid. I guess I was overwhelmed from the Move, and in shock--genuinely--over the leniency of the sentencing!!!!!!
Again, it must be said, what in hell was Judge Glenn Berman thinking??????
Because, even while handing this down, he chastised Ravi severely, as severely as someone about to receive a much harsher sentence. His much quoted statement, about how he heard the word "guilty" 288 times--12 jurors, 24 counts--from the jurors, and not yet one word of apology from Ravi, speaks of Berman pretty much feeling the same as many now do about Dharun Ravi.
So, why the light sentence? Berman also said he believes Ravi did not hate Tyler Clementi. Technically, this may be true, but Ravi sure hated--or seemed to hate-- a lot of things Tyler was--white, of lesser so-called economic status than Ravi's family, less privileged because of the aforementioned. Oh, and let us not forget--Tyler Clementi was gay.
Which seems to indicate that, if the roommate were not Tyler, but someone else who fit all the criteria, Dharun would most likely still have acted as he did. Whether the same tragedy would have resulted cannot be determined.
But let's just take up the issue of sexuality. If you put all this criteria, and substitute heterosexuality for homosexuality, might the same thing have happened??? I insist no, because, while Dharun might have still looked down his smug, self righteous, entitlement nose, if the roommate had been all these other things, but straight, they most likely would have coexisted, peacefully ignoring one another, going their own ways. Dharun Ravi might not have hated Tyler Clementi specifically--having had no prior history with him--
but he hated all those things Tyler was--and the most hateful of these, to Ravi, was Tyler being gay.
The two took up residence in early September; the first incident did not happen till September 19. Which, to me, speaks of a kind of calculation; it gave Ravi enough time to surreptitiously observe Tyler, sensing his frailties, vulnerabilities, and weak points, so that, when he felt the time was ready, he could exploit and humiliate him. Had he pulled this prank the first or second night, there might have been some wiggle room, but that he waited almost three weeks says to me that this gave Ravi not necessarily planning time, but enough observation of what might upset Tyler the most. Which to me bespeaks of a kind of calculation.
A calculation that was reinforced in the wake of the tragedy, when Ravi tried to cover his tracks, and told friends not to say this and that happened. His wheels were turning, darlings!!!!!! And how about after the verdict, when he tried to court the media, and, at he and his family's behest, I am sure, protest rallies were held?????????????
Children learn by imitating their parents; and what was learned this week was where Ravi's smug arrogance comes from. His father refuses to see him as anything but a victim. His mother shamefully seems to equate Jane Clementi's grief with her own, saying her fondest wish is to see her son again "eat, as any 20-year old would."
Excuse me, Mrs. Ravi?????? You have the NERVE to say this, in front of the Clementis?????? You still have your scumbag son; they are forever separated from someone not only they most cherished, but who, from all indications, was worth cherishing.
When asked why he did not apologize outright, Ravi said something to the effect that anything he said now would sound rehearsed, and it would not make people, who already do, not hate him any less. He does have a point, BUT this statement shows some awareness, if Ravi can recognize how hated he is by some. And will continue to be. For, as the years go on, and the case recedes into the fabric of history, like Matthew Shepard, without an apology, Ravi will go on to become that much more hated, while Tyler will only become more venerated.
It is true, an apology might not change public attitude. But it would give some closure for the Clementis, who, by their example, and some statements, have indicated this was pretty much what they wanted, in the form of justice. What they received can only be termed ambiguous.
All of which makes me wonder why Berman dished out such a light sentence. I never got the impression, throughout proceedings, he was homophobic, and his speech at the sentencing speaks of the outright contempt he feels for Dharun Ravi. So what was it? Political or media pressure? A bit of both????
I say this last; Berman wanted to mete out justice, but not at the expense of sacrificing his good standing in the so-called "Old Boys' Club." Yet, by keeping this, he does a disservice both to Dharun Ravi, and the Clementis.
And what of Dharun Ravi? Will what he is about to face--not only the minuscule 30 day jail sentence, but the three years of probation, hours of community service and therapy change him????
I think not.
I have to wonder what Ravi is--deluded, or a sociopath???? Earlier, I had stated the latter; now I am not so sure. Sociopaths, to call this a credit, have the chilling ability to adapt, to be charming when they want to, so they can go undetected. Remember the 'SVU' episode about Jake O'Hara, whom Kyle Maclachlan, as Dr. Brett Morgan, openly kills in court???? Before the truth about Jake is revealed, we see a scene where the young boy expresses seemingly (though we do not know it is such at the time) genuine sorrow to the man, over the loss of his young son. A sociopath here might have had the manipulatory skill to say to the Clementis and the world at large what was waiting to be heard. Dharun seems to lack this fundamental skill, which makes sociopathy questionable, and delusion more credible. Nevertheless, there is some kind of psychopathology at work here; not being in that profession, I cannot even hazard a guess.
I am reminded of yet another 'SVU' episode; "Lost Traveler," based on the Leiby Kletzky case. When the schoolgirl perps, Emma Butler (Quinn Shephard) and Courtney Lane (Lili Reinhart) are finally nailed, there is that chilling final moment when Courtney, alone with Olivia (Mariska Hargitay) is asked why she did it. Her response is chilling. Looking into the camera, before fading to black, she simply says, "Why not?"
Which, to me, sums up Dharun Ravi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I can only express my firm belief in that what goes around comes around. I cannot, however, express any kind of belief in either Dharun Ravi or Judge Glenn Berman.
They put American society to shame!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Just as residents of Park Slope call their nabe The Slope, so residents of Bay Ridge call it The Ridge. And that just happens to be the name of the building Monsieur and I have moved into, pictured above, in the heart of Bay Ridge, along famed Ridge Boulevard. Not to be confused with Sunset Boulevard, darlings, but give us some time, because, once this place is fully decorated, and ready to be shown, it and moi will give Norma Desmond a run for her money!!!!!!
The emotionality of the the move was strange. Monday, I spent my last night in Woodside, and, while that weighed on me, somewhat--15 years is 15 years; even prisoners, so I am told, feel a pang of change over leaving prison--it wasn't like that last time, in 1997, when I left Bay Ridge, for Queens.
As we pulled away from Woodside for the last time, I said goodbye, as I would to a host, after a lengthy visit as a guest. No tears, no pangs of regret.
So, I was quite surprised the next day, when, moving from Monsieur's on Bethune Street, in the West Village, I found myself crying genuine tears. I cried for him, who was leaving a place he had inhabited for 32 years--never mind longer than I lived in Woodside; how about longer than the home I was raised in, in Highland Park, New Jersey????--leaving a neighborhood almost every Manhattanite desires to live in, and leaving a place that, over time, I had come to regard as home, too. For, as our relationship evolved, so did the living spaces; going back and forth between the two, and using the Woodside locale basically as a Weekend Pensione, because, let's face it, commuting to work in Manhattan from the West Village is a hell lot more convenient than Woodside, Queens. Not to mention more appealing. So, I had real sorrow, as we pulled away from Bethune Street.
At 1:30, on Wednesday, we officially walked into our apartment, as joint residents of Bay Ridge. It has, and is still, going to take some getting used to, even though I am much more familiar with the area than Monsieur. And it is the living space itself, and not living with Monsieur, that is going to take some adjusting to, despite what some may think. I have no qualms about living with him; there is no adjustment, here, save, as I said, of space.
Friends and relations have weighed in with congratulatory phone calls, and emails. Oh, and for those out there who may be calling us, be forewarned. There is a new message on the answering machine, at Monsieur's request, and it is a lengthy one, so you have to listen, if you wish to leave a message. It is none other than I, delivering Gladys Cooper's famous speech about "suffering" from "The Song Of Bernadette!"
You better believe I am going to St. Andrews Church (the most "gay friendly," I am told) this Sunday, to offer up Thanks!!!!!!
What else can I say, darlings, but Alleluia????????????????????????
Now, darlings, you really did not think I would post a pic of Charlize Theron, now, would you? That would not be very accurate, and go against tradition. Anyway, I am back, and we have arrived in Bay Ridge Brooklyn, where the view is pretty, and the nights, so far, are peaceful and quiet.
But I know what you want to know. The movers, who transported both of us--me on Tuesday, Monsieur on Wednesday--were great at their jobs, but they were not hotties!!!! However, the cable guy, who installed this computer and the telephone/cable lines, was one cute thing. He sort of looked like Danny Pino, as Amaro, on "SVU'. No, girls, nothing happened, but it was so much fun to watch him work!!!
If we have to have Time Warner out here again, you can bet he is the one we will ask for. I bet all their customers do!!!!!!
Now, I must apologize. Today is Friday, which means Thursday went by, without a Bitch Of The Week. But, not to be discouraged, loves, the next two weeks are going to be great, I have some real, Grade A bitches, coming up!!!!!!
And I have a few things I have to report that I missed. More on Dharun Ravi, not to mention Etan Patz, Fleet Week, and the anniversary of a long forgotten film classic, and another one of Musical Theater!!!!!!
So, let's get started, girls!!!! Life begins in Bay Ridge! As the line goes in "A Chorus Line, "Go to it!"
Monday, May 21, 2012
Girls, I have to write this, to let you know, I may not be with you for the next several days; I hope a week, at the most. Tomorrow begins the much worked for, anticipated, move of Monsieur and myself, from our respective residences in Queens and the West Village, to the joint one of our own in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Not only is my body pain wracked from stone floors, darlings, I am a nervous wreck!!!!!!!!!
So, let us focus on when I do return. You will get a full account of the move, including which movers were hot, and which weren't!!!!!!!! Would I let my girls down???? I will have more writing material to draw on, because there is so much out in Bay Ridge that can be written about, from the Alpine Cinema to Salon Briana, among others!!!!!!!!!!!! As well as I have done by Woodside for lo these 15 (can you believe it???) years, my heart has never been there, but always belonged to Bay Ridge. And there really was not much to write about out there. (In Woodside, I mean!) Though, I am telling you, though I will be far removed from it, I will journey to Long Island City once in awhile for a meal at Manducattis. It is worth the trip; even if you are on Staten Island, or in Jersey!!!!!!!
My books, my clothes, my coffee maker--HELP ME!!!!!!!!!!!!! Tomorrow, Woodside becomes History--or at least part of mine--and a new chapter begins. One that I will keep you all informed on! I was unable to get a pic of my residence in Woodside, but I will do my best to get one of the new one in Bay Ridge. This nabe has come a long way since the days of "Saturday Night Fever" and the roughness it had around the edges in the Eighties. And I will no longer be running so cavalierly back and forth to Manhattan, like I did when I was a young thing, first living there! I just don't have the energy now, girls!!!!!!!!! Who the hell does, I wonder????????????
So a bientot, my sweets, till next we meet again, in what residents call The Ridge!!!!!!!!!
Mon Dieu!!!!!!!!!!!! Adieu!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, girls, the news is in, and, as soon as it was, I said I would report it to you. Dahrun Ravi, that arrogant prick, has received, indeed, a jail sentence. Of 30 days. That is right; you heard me!!!!!!!!
The prosecution is appealing, and I am with them all the way. But even if it just results
in this sentence, remember, at least he is, by this act, being held to some degree, accountable for what he did!
And that this is something he will live with the rest of his life. Wait till future employers Google his name. Or check this blog, darlings!!!!!!! Ravi may not be deported to India, but with his record besmirched over here, he may have to go back there, if he wants to start any kind of life.
I know the Clementis did not want a harsh penalty for him, but did they expect something as paltry as this??????? I have to wonder.
And they have been busy, and will continue to be, I am sure, promoting the
Tyler Clementi Foundation. They recently attended a Bergen County performance of the Moises Kaufman play, "The Laramie Project," and were impressed, not only by the performance, but by the parallels to Matthew Shepard's and Tyler's tragedies. My hearts go out to them on this day.
Again, he is going to do time in a prison; an experience, however brief, that, I hope, alters him, but good. While I am sure there may be some inmates who will empathize with him, there may be others who don't, and so he should watch his back, darlings!!!!!!!! He may get more than he bargained for!
Which would serve this remorseless, arrogant prick right. Not once have I ever heard or read of him saying he was sorry what happened to Tyler, or express any kind of apology or regret to the Clementis.
And that is why I think a longer jail sentence would have been appropriate.
But we have to remember, he IS being held accountable!
And we have to remember, that while it is no secret I am with the Clementis all the way, and have been from day one, because of Ravi, three families--the Clementis, Weis and his own--have been altered by his behavior. Nothing in their backgrounds should ever have really brought them together. The parents of Tyler and Ravi should have had no more association than moving their offspring in, and moving them out. This would have been both of these young men's Sophomore year, and I am sure, had, none of this happened, neither would be rooming with the other now, and both would have been happier for that.
But Mr. Ravi's actions altered that, and succeeded in obliterating Tyler Clementi.
So, off to prison you go, you loathsome creature. I hope you are taught a lesson by those there.
The Mills of Justice may grind exceedingly small, but they DO grind!!!!!!!!!!
Back when I used to have all my Broadway cast recordings on vinyl, I kept a list of the date each show opened, and where. On said day, I used to play the album, so that each record would get at least one play a year.
As vinyl gave way to other forms, and my collection altered over the years, so, too, did this tradition. But certain dates always stood out, and today is one of them.
On this very night, fifty three years ago, girls, Ethel Merman opened in "Gypsy." Imagine being in that audience hearing "Some People," "Everything's Coming Up Roses," and "Rose's Turn" for the first time!
Not only was the face of musical theater changed, so, too, was the face of homosexuality! If any show gave birth to the Theater Queen, it was "Gypsy", because it had all the gay fantasies crystallized into one!
Our childhood fantasies of stardom could be fulfilled by enacting Baby and Dainty June, with some of us--not I, darlings!!!--able to do the Baby June split!!!! Our more sexual outlets could be explored by enacting the three strippers, performing "You Gotta Get A Gimmick!" My personal favorite was Electra, who had my favorite line, "I'm electrifyn', and I ain't even tryin'!/I never have to sweat to get paid!" You better believe it, dolls!!!!!!!!!!!!
And , of course, the ultimate fantasy of being the Star, the Belter, was encapsulated in Merman's Rose. When this recording first spellbound me, at the age of 12, I knew that Rose was a role I wanted to play!!!! I discovered Merman was 50 when she did it, and I vowed when I reached that distant age, I would play it!!!!!
Well, time has a way of moving, and I am past that, BUT don't count me out on playing Rose, yet!!!!! I guarantee you a showstopper.
The Original Production also featured something no other one has, and I wish would be restored. You can see it in the lower left corner of the album cover, and on a full color page of Martin Gottfried's first "Broadway Musicals" book--the Minsky burlesque girls forming a giant Christmas tree!!!!
When I play Mama Rose, this will be reinstated!!!!
So, today a salute to "Gypsy!" More revivals, more Lead Actress TONY Awards, all told, than almost any other musical!!!! Out of this show are future Theater Queens born!!!!!
Moo Moo Moo Moo!, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Later, after a long day for us both, and weighted down with bags, from some domestic shopping at Gracious Homes, we decided to take a Downtown bus, to meet our friend, Harvey, for dinner. We stood under a bus stop booth that had seat dividers, and one was taken up by this surly looking woman's over sized gold purse. How she afforded it, or even came by it, I can only guess; but I can tell you, it was NOT on the up and up!!!!!!!! Monsieur politely asked to be excused, so we could sit; would the woman, mind moving her purse???? The bitch ignored us. So, to my surprise, Monsieur went into Bitch Mode, saying he was tired of this kind of behavior, and then, to my shock, he and she began to go at it. I mean, he became ME!!!! With every other word being "Motherfucker," she demanded to know what he was doing to her purse, who did we think we were, etc. I was so shocked I was actually at a loss for words--something you know I am not, darlings--but when I heard her say, "You fucking faggots," that's when I had it. I stood up, shook my finger at her, and said--so help me, God--"Listen, you entitlement bitch, you shut up, or you will be working for me on MY plantation!" That's right, darlings; you better believe it! Meanwhile, she is still screaming at us, and this other guy, standing near the bus stop, eggs her on, saying "You tell them, Mama!"
It is a wonder the cops were not summoned, but I can tell you, I know how to deal with THEM!!!! Give them a blow job, and shut them up!!!! I am just sorry I did not have the presence of mind to say to this woman, "Get off these steps, you trashy wench; get off this land!"
What is this town coming to, darlings??????????? Is it any wonder some give up, and move to the suburbs? Well, to paraphrase Jack Lemmon in "The Out-Of-Towners," this town has not done me in, yet!!!!!
But, with MY luck, in several weeks, this woman will enter my workplace!
Until next time, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Girls, you are not going to believe this, but, I swear, it is the truth!!!!!!!!!!! I just found out yesterday that Anne Hathaway beat out Amy Adams, Kate Winslet and Jessica Biel for the role of Fantine!!!!!!!!
Amy Adams!!!!!!!!! Can you imagine her being passed over for anything???? Now, I don't feel so bad about not being cast in a part I highly desired! Amy certainly had the beauty, the voice, and the vulnerability to do the role. Not that Anne doesn't, but I know what Amy can do musically, and I would have LOVED to hear her on "I Dreamed A Dream". I keep hearing about Anne's killer rendition, but it is so tightly wrapped, no one can find it anywhere!!!!! If any of my girls know where it is, let me know pronto.
Remember, darlings, the proof of doing the role of Fantine is in how the one doing it sings that song!!!!! I have confidence in Anne's abilities, and, on an interesting side note, I found she comes by it genetically. Her mother, Kathleen Ann McCauley, was an actress, who, back in the day, was in the Ensemble of the First National Company of "Les Miz"--and understudied the role of Fantine!!!! So, now the torch is passed from mother to daughter.
As for Amy, who knows? After she takes the stage by storm this Summer in the Delacorte "Into The Woods," the next Broadway revival of "Les Miz" just may feature her as Fantine! Or she may eventually do a CD, where we get to hear her do "I Dreamed A Dream."
Oh, and darlings--two members of the Original/London Broadway casts are featured in the film. Colm Wilkinson, who defined Jean Valjean for all time, is making a cameo as the Bishop of Digne, and Frances Ruffelle, who won a TONY Award, for originating Eponine, will play one of the prostitutes.
I was devastated, not being cast as Fantine. But knowing that I lost out with Amy Adams, I feel honored!!!!!!
I will keep following this, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!